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Did the 'More popular than Jesus' ruin a lot of their popularity?
26 January 2014
1.01am
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tkj
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I was born in 96' and I really am confused by this. It seems to me that throughout the 60s, before and after Johns statement, The Beatles were the biggest band on the planet, releasing successful records from Please Please Me to Let It Be .

When John Lennon made the Jesus remark, people burned their records and some radio-shows banned their music. There's also countless of videos online from the 60s, where teenagers are being interviewed saying they dont like The Beatles anymore etc.

Still, it seems to me like they still were at the top of their game after this remark. Their albums still got to the top, Beatlemania still existed, etc.. 

So what did this statement really do to them? Is it possible it even made them MORE popular?

26 January 2014
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trcanberra
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tkj said
I was born in 96' and I really am confused by this. It seems to me that throughout the 60s, before and after Johns statement, The Beatles were the biggest band on the planet, releasing successful records from Please Please Me to Let It Be .

When John Lennon made the Jesus remark, people burned their records and some radio-shows banned their music. There's also countless of videos online from the 60s, were teenagers are being interviewed saying they dont like The Beatles anymore etc.

Still, it seems to me like they still were at the top of their game after this remark. Their albums still got to the top, Beatlemania still existed, etc.. 

So what did this statement really do to them? Is it possible it even made them MORE popular?

Well, there is the school of thought that 'any publicity is good publicity'.  It is also possible that some of those over-excited album-burners bought their albums a second time after they got over the fervour.

I have no doubt in my mind though that the whole thing did affect sales of Ballad of John & Yoko with the whole "Christ you know it ain't easy" bit coming back to haunt them in the US 'bible belt'.

 

==> trcanberra and hongkonglady - Together even when not (married for those not in the know!) <==

26 January 2014
2.16am
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Billy Rhythm
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I honestly don't think that it affected their popularity really one way or the other, the ones who were most vocal about the remark probably weren't much of a Beatles' fan anyway.  John actually got a lot of support during this time, witness the 'Lennon Saves!' banners hanging from the rafters, or even public statements made by some prominent members of the church actually agreeing with him on his views.  Brian Epstein's "damage control" press conference that proceeded the 1966 U.S. Tour was bang on the mark when he said that "the quote had been misrepresented entirely out of context".  The Interview by Maureen Cleave had been published months before in Europe to no objections by anyone, but when it was reprinted in the U.S. and the fundamentalist Christian population there caught wind of it, it got blown way out of proportion, he was even often misquoted as saying "We are more famous than Jesus" which makes the "out of context" quote seem even more arrogant than it was.

 

It's a touchy subject for many so I'll refrain from going into it much deeper, but I'm absolutely convinced that this quote by John played a big role in his assassination and has been downplayed since by the media (probably from orders above).  I could go on and on but I'll either be labeled a "conspiracy theorist" or offend somebody's faith and I don't want to do that for it doesn't change the fact that he was taken from us.  For every person that was offended by John's 1966 Interview with Maureen Cleave, there's atleast one person who respected him for his honesty and you can count me in that group...:-)

26 January 2014
3.23am
TheOneBeatle
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It did affect them, not really in their popularity (I think it was only in the US with the Beatle records burning, and decrease of sales and attendance on Beatle concerts - albeit seemingly temporary), but I honestly think this started the chain reaction to the Beatles break-up.
1966 was a really heavy year for The Beatles.
After a three-month break from the business (save a secret January 1966 session for the Shea Stadium TV Special, where they did overdubs to the concert), they come back to record Revolver . The interview with Maureen Cleave was released in Europe on March 4, 1966, without causing any controversy.
They release the Paperback Writer /Rain on June 1966, 27 weeks later than their last single (We Can Work It Out ), breaking Epstein & Martin's plan of releasing two albums and four singles each year in order to wane interest and popular demand of The Beatles. They instead started to become a ''studio band'' after being virtually touring every day since Brian Epstein was their manager. However, they start another world tour three days after finishing Revolver , but it is clearly seen that The Beatles (minus Paul) didn't want to tour anymore: They couldn't listen themselves thanks to the shouts of the thousands of fans (ironically, they could actually hear The Beatles) and they were playing really bad as a result of the tireness (The first Japan concert is a clear example of this). Then the Philippines incident happens and The Beatles circle barely escape from there, and as soon as that was finished, the interview is reprinted in the US by Datebook on July 29, 1966 and causes the controversy by taking the statement out the context by changing the world from ''Popular'' to ''Better''. The US Tour was coming when this ignited, so Epstein did a press conference on August 6 and reaffirmed that the tour would go on. Lennon apologized on August 11, during a press conference in Chicago. Although the apologies did calm down the furious ones, The Beatles were very nervous, and this make them decide that this tour was their last.

Let me take you down 'cause I'm going to...Strawberry Fields.

26 January 2014
5.28am
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parlance
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It might have hurt the Beatlemania phase of popularity, but not in the long run. By the time that comment was published, there were other British bands for Americans to follow, and they were were already losing casual fans to those bands. And it's the non-touring phase of their output that cemented their legacy, and I don't think the controversy was still affecting them by then.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at Vimeo or YouTube.

26 January 2014
7.12am
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Funny Paper
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tkj,

There's an old saying in show biz:  "There's no such thing as bad publicity" -- i.e., most of the time, when there's a scandal in a celebrity's career, or when there is a flurry of negativity, it tends to be a plus.

Now the challenge would be for a band to say "We're more popular than Muhammad".blue-meanie

Yeah, fat chance that'll happen!

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...

26 January 2014
3.18pm
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SatanHimself
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The only protests of any note were in the American South, and outside of that first flurry of outrage it was never mentioned in again in popular culture.

Every time I see the footage of those burning records, all I think is how many of those wonderful original collector's items were wiped from the Earth.  And then probably re-purchased.

E is for 'Ergent'.

26 January 2014
9.40pm
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Blackbird Fly
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I think the More Popular Jesus actually did good for them. In my opinion it gave them the push to get away from the simpler songs to their more mature work. It gave them the rawness and honesty they needed to push their artistic boundaries.

26 January 2014
9.46pm
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parlance
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Blackbird Fly said
I think the More Popular Jesus actually did good for them. In my opinion it gave them the push to get away from the simpler songs to their more mature work. It gave them the rawness and honesty they needed to push their artistic boundaries.

But the controversy took place during the release of Revolver , so they were already pushing those artistic boundaries.

parlance

 

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at Vimeo or YouTube.

26 January 2014
9.48pm
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ivaughan
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It was kind of said at the time that with Sgt. Pepper , the Beatles lost some of the teenybop fan base but gained a wider fan base of listeners in the process. It seems to me that The Beatles were doing a lot in the 1966-67 period which would have led to a decrease in fandom in one area but an overall rise with a more sophisticated and mature audience. So I wouldn't say their popularity was ruined but their fanbase was changing at that time.

26 January 2014
9.59pm
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Blackbird Fly
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parlance said

Blackbird Fly said
I think the More Popular Jesus actually did good for them. In my opinion it gave them the push to get away from the simpler songs to their more mature work. It gave them the rawness and honesty they needed to push their artistic boundaries.

But the controversy took place during the release of Revolver , so they were already pushing those artistic boundaries.

parlance

 

Really? For some reason I always thought that it happened around Rubber Soul . Huh? I need to brush up on my Beatle history. 

26 January 2014
11.22pm
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4or5Magicians
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I think all the outrage did more for the church and maybe the Ku Klux Klan, to be honest. Nothing gets people together for a good ol' burning like a high profile (shall we say, "popular") target. I find that to be amusing, considering the reason for the outrage in the first place.

27 January 2014
12.29am
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meanmistermustard
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I really doubt most of the kids really cared about John's out of context "Bigger than Jesus" comment. 

The "More than Jesus" furore was stirred up by DJ's and some of the more religious along with those who liked a good bonfire and/or a public flogging bandwagon getting involved, burned some albums, and showed some anger. It would have been scary at the time going to the Bible Belt as they don't like you blaspheming, or being seen to blaspheme Christianity (see Top Gear in Alabama). Certainly for George, John and Ringo, touring was over before all this anyway, they didn't want to go to the US or the Philippines or Japan or even to Germany; all the American nastiness did was cement their stance and finally persuade Paul that it was over - the mania having chanced from fun and exciting to dangerous, boring, repetitive, soul destroying and unproductive.

The fans who were real fans stayed, those who wanted them to be the laughing happy cute moptops started straying due to the changing of the music on Revolver , and the Paperback Writer and Strawberry Fields singles and the way they looked. You can see it in the American Bandstand clip thru the fans reactions to the Strawberry Fields clip. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....TFKXMdjbkU

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris) 

"Don't make your love suffer insecurities; Trade the baggage of 'self' to set another one free" ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)

27 January 2014
4.13pm
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vonbontee
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Billy Rhythm said

It's a touchy subject for many so I'll refrain from going into it much deeper, but I'm absolutely convinced that this quote by John played a big role in his assassination and has been downplayed since by the media (probably from orders above).  I could go on and on but I'll either be labeled a "conspiracy theorist"

Well, when a former Beatlemaniac with the initials MDC became deeply religious and evangelical, he harboured a major grudge against John Lennon (obviously), and those Jesus remarks were a big part of his outrage. So that definitely had some kind of effect on the eventual tragic events, even if only a miniscule one (people's psyches being impossibly complex, after all.) This is well known and has been well-reported; I don't see anything conspiratorial, really.

Someone said 'What were you gonna do when it's all finished,' and I said 'I don't know but it'd be good fun being a DJ.' And since then I've become a DJ, only by word of mouth, you know. SO any minute now you'll read, 'Ringo leaves to become a DJ' but it's not true. - Ringo Starr

                     Von-Bontee-2017.png

27 January 2014
4.31pm
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Billy Rhythm
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Like I said, "I'll refrain from going into it", I all ready regret even mentioning it for it prompted atleast one person to mention the unmentionable one's name, you even had to say his middle name for crying out loud, it's no wonder that some losers resort to these kinda horrors for one can become famous literally overnight.  There's a lot more to the story than what was made available for the public, and that's all I'm gonna say, you wanna know more than you're going to have to do your own investigating on the subject...:-)

27 January 2014
4.42pm
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meanmistermustard
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I don't normally use his name but the guy is going to known, probably for ever, as the guy who shot and killed John. What he did and who he was/is not going to go away because a forum does or doesn't use his name, its going to be retained throughout history due to the legacy of the Beatles. Its all wrapped up in one big mess. You can argue it both ways as why give him more publicity, since that is what he wanted to get out if it all, but sadly the guys place is assured. I don't like it but its just how it is.

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris) 

"Don't make your love suffer insecurities; Trade the baggage of 'self' to set another one free" ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)

27 January 2014
5.59pm
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vonbontee
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Billy Rhythm said

Like I said, "I'll refrain from going into it", I all ready regret even mentioning it for it prompted atleast one person to mention the unmentionable one's name, you even had to say his middle name for crying out loud, it's no wonder that some losers resort to these kinda horrors for one can become famous literally overnight.  There's a lot more to the story than what was made available for the public, and that's all I'm gonna say, you wanna know more than you're going to have to do your own investigating on the subject...:-)

Well sorry, but you opened that door yourself. But if it makes you feel less squeamish, I'll edit my post to include only "the unmentionable one's" initials.

Someone said 'What were you gonna do when it's all finished,' and I said 'I don't know but it'd be good fun being a DJ.' And since then I've become a DJ, only by word of mouth, you know. SO any minute now you'll read, 'Ringo leaves to become a DJ' but it's not true. - Ringo Starr

                     Von-Bontee-2017.png

27 January 2014
6.14pm
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Billy Rhythm
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It's not about me feeling "less squeamish", but as long as you and others continue to mention his name, or his initials, he'll continue to be entrenched ever so deeply in Beatles' lore.  If everyone started to refer to him as only "some weirdo", or as Paul puts it, "The JERK of ALL Jerks" then long after we're gone that's how he'll be referenced.  I feel the same way about that Madman who was responsible for so many deaths of the Jewish population during WWII, yet people continue to glorify his name in schools and TV Shows, I'm not suggesting that we should pretend that these things didn't happen, but the names of those who are responsible should be stricken from the record, forever...:-)

27 January 2014
7.48pm
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As I have said before when this subject comes up, I prefer to use the nickname he gained in his late-teens, "Nemo", which he liked until he found out it was Greek for "no man" or "no one" when I need to refer to him. I only use his name when absolutely necessary to a discussion.

Maybe we should start a petition that henceforward he shall be known here as "Nemo"!

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty

 

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27 January 2014
9.09pm
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vonbontee said

Billy Rhythm said

It's a touchy subject for many so I'll refrain from going into it much deeper, but I'm absolutely convinced that this quote by John played a big role in his assassination and has been downplayed since by the media (probably from orders above).  I could go on and on but I'll either be labeled a "conspiracy theorist"

Well, when a former Beatlemaniac with the initials MDC became deeply religious and evangelical, he harboured a major grudge against John Lennon (obviously), and those Jesus remarks were a big part of his outrage. So that definitely had some kind of effect on the eventual tragic events, even if only a miniscule one (people's psyches being impossibly complex, after all.) This is well known and has been well-reported; I don't see anything conspiratorial, really.

Except that the evidence shows he was not a fan of The Beatles.  

"This Beatles talk bores me to death.” —John Lennon 

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